SAN JOSE – When the Sharks had a 2-0 lead over the Hurricanes heading into the first intermission Wednesday night, it looked like deja vu. They had, after all, gone up 2-0 on Carolina back on October 26 but lost that contest 4-3 in the shootout.
But this time around, it was Team Teal who skated away with the victory. Coming off a remarkable rebound win over the Canadiens on Sunday, they wowed on home ice to defeat the visiting Hurricanes 5-1.
Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game:
Timo Meier’s return: Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer acknowledged after practice on Tuesday the team was happy to be getting the Swiss forward back in the lineup after he was sidelined for three games.
“You can see we’re a different team without him in the lineup,” DeBoer said to the media.
Meier wasted no time showing how much he brings to the table, tallying a goal and two assist in his return. He also looked right at home on a line with Joe Thornton and Marcus Sorensen, particularly when they all connected for Sorensen’s third-period goal and Sorensen set No. 20 up with a sweet redirect.
Three words: Martin. Jones. Again: It wasn’t like the Hurricanes were sitting back and letting the Sharks run the show. They put up a fight, putting their speed on full display and outshooting San Jose for the duration of Wednesday’s game. But Martin Jones wasn’t going to let them take over.
NBC Sports California discussed earlier this week that Jones’ win against the Habs was a good jumping off point for him to have more success. He did just that, halting 30-plus shots Carolina sent his way. He was particularly on his game at the end of the first frame when Carolina began hemming the Sharks in their own zone and peppered Jones with shots.
Team defense: Having faced the Hurricanes once this season, the Sharks were aware of how fast the team was – and how important it was going to be for San Jose’s defense to stop their forward attack.
San Jose’s defense did a better job this time around of helping their goaltender out, getting in front of more shots and forcing the visitors into turning the puck away. In the end, San Jose’s defensive game was enough to slow down the speedy and aggressive Carolina squad.